I just wanted to share a little slice of a day I had in Amsterdam. This little slice is a moment that I really felt blissful and happy. The slice started out at Blijeburen (translated as 'Happy Neighbours') where I set off to, around 3:15pm, to help with sorting some fruits and veggies. When I got there, Frannie and Peter were frantic, simply just taking all the crates of produce (collected from supermarkets who would otherwise throw them away) and leaving them on the little plot of land we call Blijeburen. Normally, we clean all these and sort the types into crates.
But not this day!!!
This day we fight!!!!
Moving on from a little LOTR reminiscing haha, what actually happened was that Frannie and Peter invited me to a neighbourhood party in Flevopark, a big park right in our area of Amsterdam Oost. Peter was to be a guest of honour. Why not, am I right?
So a bunch of other party-attendees that were there hopped into the back of the Blijeburen van with me. Three sat in the front and three sat in the back on chairs that Peter had plonked into this empty van. It was quite cozy actually. And coincidentally I had made fresh hummus to bring along to Blijeburen and this provided quite a delightful snack in the van as we trundled along. It was actually a really nice moment for me actually. Me sitting on a normal dining chair in the back of a van, passing around hummus and bread with two others and passing it onto the front. Everyone just enjoying the hummus and the moment. It was real swell. :)
So then we got lost for a while trying to find this "Buurt Camping" (Neighbourhood Camping) inside Flevopark. Well when I got there, it really is as the name described. A LOT of tents speckled in a big area of the park. And in the middle was a sort of gathering area where we rushed towards.
Peter was awarded with the local neighbourhood Hero award, something I must agree with. :) But also something that Frannie deserves. They both worked really hard to found and continually support Blijeburen.
Then I decided to roam the tents and came across one of my favourite set-ups: The Surinam clan. They'd made the table themselves as well as, if you look outside the tent on the most right, the little wooden tabletop for the stove. When I was passing by, one of the them was beginning a big stir-fry with fish and garlic, as if she was right at home.
They talked about they'd been doing it for 3 years already and were volunteers this year. They were serious pros. I kid you not there was a shower set-up round the back.
Later, actually, Peter and Frannie and everyone came over because we know one of the women from Blijeburen. So everyone was collected around this little spot. One of the guys we were with actually recognised one of the Surinam women from way back. Both were surprised haha.
And one of the other women was such a hard worker (I swear I knew their names but I have the worst memory, which actually upsets me, makes it feels less personal). We kept joking about how she was non-stop working and always busy with something or cleaning a pot or fixing that or tidying this or making some food for her grandchildren. I believe the pictures below really showcase her hard-working ethic. Here she was going to refill the water buckets (with one of the aforementioned grandchildren playing the background). She even brought an extra big bottle which, being unable to carry it in her hand, you can see how she carried it hahahah. I cracked up when I saw her coming.
They lay out a white mat while we were all talking. And I felt a bit shy and not sure how to act, so I sort of piped in asking if I could lay on the mat. The first Surinam lady (the one with the black hat above) retorted "Of course, I laid it out for you" as if it was soo obvious. I ended up napping there in the sun, and Peter and Frannie left, but I decided to stay.
They asked if, perhaps, they could make me a little food. At this point I was SOOOO hungry and had been eying up that stuff she'd fried up earlier but didn't want to be rude. But I eagerly accepted their offer and it was so strange that they had been so polite about it.
I ended up playing with both the grandkids and speaking poor Dutch to them, but Dutch nevertheless. I'd been trying to get better at it while I'd been in Amsterdam but I always felt too shy to speak it to people, too embarrassed. But it was nice to talk it to this little family, I really tried my best putting the words I knew into badly strung sentences. And they understood me. :) They had some sort of hoola hoop thing with lights and a ball on a string on it. So we all looked silly as we tried to spin it around our hands and hips (I was strangely good at the arms, awful at the hips).
At the end, I told the Surinam women with the black hat and coloured hair wraps that she was beautiful. She honestly was and is and I thought that so much. She just looked splendid and beautiful to me. So I told her exactly so and she said I was "liefe". I don't quite know the exact meaning of that from Dutch but I understood what she was trying to say. She said I had a good personality and that just made me float and really happy.
I had to bid my goodbyes and head home to dinner, but not without a box of food they'd gotten me so I could eat later on.
Some things you can tell about people and these people were good ones. Hope you enjoyed this little slice. :)